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Nutcracker CRACK THE CODE (Grades 1-5)

Grade Levels
1st - 5th
Formats Included
  • PDF
122 pages
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Students will go NUTS over this winter CRACK THE CODE that is INCLUSIVE for all students regardless of what winter holidays they celebrate! Crack the Codes allow students to feel success in all academic areas, while working hard to collaborate, persevere, and problem solve with their peers. Crack the Codes take students on a "scavenger hunt" style game where six clue cards will need to be located and solved. This resource includes options for grades 1st through 5th where you can pick and choose whichever clue cards best suit your students! Here is a closer look at what types of challenges are included in this Crack the Code!

In this challenge, students will read a passage about the history of the NUTCRACKER, solving math problems (division and addition options SEE BELOW), using a letter decoder to decode secret messages, participating in a stem activity where students create their own NUTCRACKER using a paper towel roll, and collecting "nuts" with words OR letters on them" throughout the breakout in order to reveal the final secret word/s. There is a recording sheet included which students can use to show their work for each question and submit at the end!

The clues are not dependent on one another so for example you can use a math clue from grade 2 when playing the 3-5 version etc. The only thing you will need to do is make sure that you use the final clue that matches with the pieces you are handing out to students throughout the challenge. For grades 3-5 the are collecting nuts that spell PEANUT, CHESTNUT, and DONUT and for grade 1 they are collecting nuts with letters that will spell out the word CRACK! Again you can use ANY CLUE CARD FROM ANY VERSION so find which clue cards seem just right for your students!


  • 3 digit divided by 1 digit
  • 2 digit divided by 1 digit
  • 2 digit plus 1 digit
  • 2 digit plus 1 digit easier numbers
  • 2 digit plus 1 digit (2 digit number is a multiple of 10 such as 30 + 4
  • 1 digit plus 1 digit
  • 1 digit plus 1 digit under 10
  • 1 digit plus 1 digit under 6

3 Different text levels for the reading passage! The challenge that goes with the passage is also split up into 3 different options of finding synonyms, ABC order challenging, and ABC order basic with only 4 words to sort!

3 Secret decoder options to choose from.

There are some additional supplies you will need in addition to printing this PDF but most of these items are items that are readily available in most classrooms! Only 1 item is needed per group playing.

  • Popsicle stick
  • Scissor
  • Tape
  • Markers
  • Paper
  • Paper fastener
  • Toilet paper roll or Paper towel roll (cut in 2)

For grades 1st-2nd you can do this whole class as a Crack the Code or you could use each clue card as a CENTER. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need a modification. Thanks!

Included are...

Directions with lots of details included

Clue Cards (various options to choose from, grades 1-5 included)

Tips and Tricks on how to make this an engaging and exciting activity

Student Recording Sheet for students to show their work and submit at the end

Teaching Answer Sheet

Printable Award upon completion of activity (Badge)

Introduction Slide


Follow me on Instagram @thelimitlessclassroom and over at thelimitlessclassroom.com to see more fun tips and tricks from my classroom!

Total Pages
122 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
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